AYG Athletics Day 4 (Final Day): Wear Pink, Win Sprints


Covered swimming heats in the morning, so by the time I got to Bishan stadium, they had just announced the Boys 100M which, through all the hype, Singapore got a bronze.

There was quite a lot of drama today: 800M boys final was too close to call. My colleagues (who were covering middle-dist) & I were convinced the runners from Iraq & S. Korea would get medals, but in the end, two others – Kumar Ravi (India) & Beyranvand Amir (Iran) came out of nowhere to sprint & then literally throw themselves at the finishing line. Both were celebrating, both were convinced they had won. Even the photo finish couldn’t tell. But Kumar (1:55.91) beat the Iranian’s 1:55.93. Super close.

And then Hong Kong’s Boys 4x200M relay team got disqualified for 2 false starts. Unfortunately the official – who might be from Saa – when to disqualify the Bahrainian team instead. So there was so much confusion the supporters were starting to curse & swear.

Besides that, we were again rooting for another Iranian, Khademi Masoomeh, to win the girls 800M. Partly because we think the Middle Eastern teams need people to cheer for them, & partly because she has become a kind of celebrity among the media people for being the only runner to run in a hijab, baggy longs & (what seemed to us as) an oversized shirt. But she is verrrrry fast (emphasis on fast). She finished 4th at 2:28.27. Can I run that fast? I really don’t think so.

China took boys shot put gold & boys high jump. S Korea took girls javelin. Japan won girls 100M. And, finally, we got to hear a new national anthem playing: Kazakhstan beat China to boys triple jump.

Highlight of the Day: Thailand completely owned everyone else in both boys & girls 4x200M relays. Granted, it’s a strange distance. But when the Thai boys beat Saudi Arabia by half a second, the Thai newscasters in the media area went wild.

Super Close: Thailand (in blue) just beat Saudi Arabia (in white/ green) for the Boys 4x200M gold.

Super Close: Thailand (in blue) just beat Saudi Arabia (in white/ green) for the Boys 4x200M gold.

And then Thailand’s girls sprint team – who were wearing hot pink – completely outclassed the Japanese (who were the favourites). There was no fight. And we couldn’t even get an interview because the Thai media was all over them.

No Contest - Yuadthong Benjamas (Thailand) wins the Girls 4x200M Relay with almost 3 seconds advantage over Japan.

No Contest - Yuadthong Benjamas (Thailand) wins the Girls 4x200M Relay with almost 3 seconds advantage over Japan.

So the final events of the AYG Athletics competition ended with a double win for a S.E Asian country. With their lap of honour around the stadium, in different directions:

Thai athletes on their lap of honour

Thai athletes on their lap of honour

And the girls go the other direction - to be mobbed by photographers

And the girls go the other direction - to be mobbed by photographers

Needless to say the Athletics competition is over. Bishan stadium will reopen for people living in AMK to do running (but not within the next 2 weeks, I heard). I will miss all the friendly Qatari & Iranian athletes who helped me do my assignments by helping me translate. And even though there’s an obscene amount of track & field coverage on a cross-country website, hopefully it’ll motivate more vistors to the blog to take up running.

A last note: I must thank Nicholas for taking the distance of the discus throws properly. As feedback: most of the throwers I interviewed said the officiating was good. The officials were, despite some slip-ups (see above), very well-trained & professional.

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